It was nice though, having that time over the holidays - just the perfect time of the year for doing things at a leisurely pace - as the year progresses, there will be more demands on my time one way or another. Thinking about it, I don't often find myself at a loose end, but I do hanker after being somewhere else fairly often. I've worked full-time since I was sixteen, supplementing periods of low income with part-time jobs on top of the full-time one which involved knitting, teaching cookery, being a carer and an Avon Lady (ding-dong!). Once I started studying for a degree, I realised full-time and part-time work wasn't practicable, so the part-time work got the elbow out of necessity. After that the study-time was replaced with more running, admin for the running club and so on - a pretty average life really!
So, between work and running, I've still kept up with some baking - I made a Cherry and Almond Battenberg a week or so ago - a Mary Berry recipe from one of the Great British Bake Off books. I've only made this once before for an event, on which occasion I didn't manage to get a slice, but did sample some of the off-cuts, which were fairly nice. As my other half swears Battenberg is his favourite cake, I thought I would give it a go again.
|I couldn't eat a whole one though.|
As I was quite happy with my recent attempt at making crumpets, I did buy more crumpet rings so that I can now do four at a time, so cutting down on the time on the griddle. I'm a fan of cheese muffins - which seem to have vanished off the shelves in some shops - so I thought cheese crumpets would be a nice substitute, to this end I added 60g of a strong cheddar to Mr Hollywood's recipe, which worked quite well, though I might experiment with just slightly more cheese next time round.
Having had a bit of cold weather fairly recently, I have wanted to eat comforting things, or foods with a bit of heat to them. One recent tea was a bean casserole with paprika and a splash of port, topped with sweet potato - made up as I went along and guaranteed to sustain an uphill run in the snow.
|Not sure I can remember how I made this....|
I tried out another recipe from Nopi - seems rude not to as it was a Christmas present - a five-spiced tofu and cardamom passata. The complete recipe includes steamed aubergine, but not having any aubergines in the veg rack last Friday, I thought the tofu and the passata would be fine as they were, served with udon noodles with carrots and sugar snap peas through them. I know some people loathe tofu with a vengeance, but, stemming from Yotam Ottolenghi's kitchen, it was never going to be tasteless. It certainly didn't disappoint.
Anyway, in the spirit of growing my own, I made a start towards this year's crop. I have to admit that I haven't paid the garden as much attention the last couple of years as I should have, but I've got a few ideas of changes I want to make and I needed to sow a few seeds which need a long growing season - several varieties of chillies, peppers, baby aubergine and sweet-peas - all now in the heated propagator and starting to sprout. I had a good sort through all the seed packets and threw out those that were just a little too old. I also realised how few flower seeds I have, though I have loads of vegetable seeds, possibly because I've taken advantage of some gardening offers that happened to come with free seeds in the spirit of "growing your own". Hopefully I will manage to grow something we can eat - while out in the garden I did manage to pull a few carrots sown last year - a nice variety for cooking whole. I was absolutely amazed that they hadn't being eaten by anything and were completely unblemished.
So hopefully I will succeed with a few crops this year - just watch this space!